Risk & Compliance

Skilling’s Legal Tab Tops $23 Million

A further $55 million of the former Enron executive's assets remains frozen.
Stephen TaubMarch 22, 2004

Jeff Skilling is rapidly racking up those legal costs.

The indicted former Enron chief executive officer has shelled out $23 million to his lawyers already, according to Reuters.

Nonetheless, in Houston, U.S. District Judge Sim Lake let stand a restraining order that freezes $55 million of Skilling’s assets that prosecutors want to seize, including homes, bank accounts, and investment accounts.

Skilling’s lawyers reportedly argued that won’t be able to support his family or defend himself against 35 criminal counts.

Federal prosecutors with the Enron Task Force urged that Skilling should prove he does not have enough money to cover reasonable legal and living expenses. “Indeed, the government doubts that Skilling could meet that showing,” prosecutors reportedly wrote in their brief, “since he has paid over $23 million to his current law firm since he left Enron.”

Prosecutors maintained that Skilling would also have to prove the grand jury did not have the legal grounds to issue the order, according to the wire service.

“While the judge ruled the government restraint of assets will remain in effect, the court did give us an opportunity to file a motion to unfreeze certain of the assets,” Daniel Petrocelli, Skilling’s lead trial lawyer, told Reuters. “Twenty-three million dollars is a lot of money, but it will take all of that and more to give Mr. Skilling the defense he deserves.”

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